the quest for the best coffee in town (part I)

 This is not only a tale of an adventure to search for good coffee, but it is also a love story to a small town I love.


I have heard Knoxville has been referred to as a “scruffy little city”, a term of which I have grown to like since I find it so fitting. I come from Nashville, which is saturated with good food and things to do. Knoxville is as well, but it can be a little more disguised. I love that this town is one that reveals itself to you over time. Living here for the past 4 years, there have been some good finds.

Some of those being coffee shops.

The quest was born from this text:


My dad has been a long time fan of coffee, and some might even say hopelessly addicted. I acquired a taste for it young, and I don’t get too fancy with coffee.

scene from Airplane! (a movie that is a favorite of my dad and I)

It is a small hobby we both share, so I delightfully accepted the challenge. I compiled a list of places I have been and really like, but also ones that are different enough from each other.


So, here we go.

Steve Tate’s Reviews and Ratings* on Knoxville’s select coffee shops:

[*note: the following views expressed in this post are not particularly adopted by the author]

Rankin’s (serves JFG coffee)

IMG_0754[1] IMG_0749[1]

Rankin’s is a staple in my world. I took my dad there to share in the experience. You can refer to “where we’re eating” tab to read more of my love letter to this place. And just for the record, I love their JFG coffee.

“Bland, but got the job done…wasn’t the strength I prefer.”

Steve rating: 4

Blue Mason Coffeehouse

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Just tried out this place earlier in the month. Their atmosphere is clean and crisp. What made me want to sit and stay awhile was their caring and very pleasant baristas and their devotion to local products. Even their décor is local (sign and counter made by Paulk + Co and decorations of charming mason jar light fixtures by Wright Mason Co)

“The cappuccino I got was a little bitter, but it was good. The staff and ambiance get a big two thumbs up.”

Steve rating: 7.5

K Brew

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This quaint little shop has LOTS of character. The warm ambiance is one that I feel is unique in Knoxville. It has the feel of a “big city shop”, with its traditional drinks and quick service. But also, it has the charm that is characteristic of Knoxville. It stays true to its city.

“Weird vibe. Don’t know how to explain it. Little overpriced for what I got. Didn’t knock my socks off.”

Steve rating: 6

Remedy Coffee House

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I actually hadn’t been to Remedy, but all of my friends had been telling me it was good. Even one of their friends had a wedding there in the back room. The shop’s “tagline”: coffee and conversation. Obviously, I love that. I took dad here so I could try it out myself, but also because I’ve heard people rave about it. Totally lived up to its hype.

“French press was absolutely satisfying. Strong beginning, smooth ending. Very good. Quality coffee, and I really like the building and the overall feel of the coffee house. Really cool place.”

Steve rating: 9


There you have it. Due to the UT game, we weren’t able to finish our quest. So there will be more to come with another visit from my father.

I’ll leave you with this infographic I found on health benefits of coffee, mainly because I know my father would appreciate me educating the general public.



May you take time to discover new places


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